If you were one of those people who was pleasantly surprised by the relative lack of racist/misogynistic/homophobic advertising during the Super Bowl this year, consider this: a Republican candidate for the Senate is attracting nationwide criticism for what detractors say is a "racially insensitive" campaign ad. The thirty-second ad for Michigan Republican Pete Hoekstra, which ran during the Super Bowl this year, features a young Asian woman speaking in broken English while biking through a field of rice paddies. (You probably shouldn't watch it in public, because it'll either give you a rage-induced stroke or prompt you to scream obscenities at your smart phone like a crazy person.)
Created by a California-based media strategy group, the ad is aimed at Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow, whom the Asian woman in the video refers to as "Debbie Spenditnow." "Thank you, Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow," the woman says to the camera. "Debbie spends so much American money. You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you, Debbie Spenditnow."
Following last night's grand premiere of the ad, political consultants, Asian-American groups, and viewers with at least one semi-functioning brain cell took to Twitter and Facebook to express their disgust. The Michigan chapter of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote group called the spot "very disturbing," and a coalition of black ministers in Detroit is calling for Hoekstra to apologize.
For his part, Hoekstra maintains that the ad was a "home run," telling Detroit radio WJR-AM's Paul W. Smith this morning that it's not racially insensitive as much as it's "insensitive" to Stabenow's economic policies. "Clearly China is one of many countries benefiting from our irresponsible spending. To highlight that is absolutely appropriate," Hoekstra says. To which there's probably nothing else to do but smile pityingly, pat Hoekstra on his racially insensitive little head, and murmur, "Okay, sweetie. You keep telling yourself that."